Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' painting sold at auction yesterday for £74m, making it the most expensive art work sold to date.
Surely there are few paintings which give a window into the soul of a man than this one? For me, The Scream is as much inspired by the claustrophobic effects of dead religion more than any other hidden angst in the life of this troubled artist.
Munch was raised by his father in small town, reformed Norway, his mother died of TB when he was still only five. Here is where the seeds were sown which produced the kind of work that now sells to billionaires.
Writing about his troubled and strange home life, Munch said, 'My father was temperamentally nervous and obsessively religious - to the point of psychoneurosis. From him I inherited the seeds of madness. The angels of fear, sorrow and death stood by my side since the day I was born.' Not the warmest family tribute you could read.
Later, Munch spoke about how his father would tell them that their dead mother was looking down from heaven and grieving over their behaviour.
Munch's father was himself the son of a Priest, and this manic religious angst seems to have infected the family. Today we would see this madness worked out in stress, symptoms of OCD, manic depression. For the young Edvard Munch it was distilled and emerged as striking, breathtaking, yet disturbing art.
What distortion of the loving relationship between man and God leads to such religious fear and uncertainty? What brand of christianity is fostered in the minds of children who are brought up to be very afraid of God and all that He stands for? It is not the religion of the bible. This is reformation gone mad. This is the kind of religion that kills, it has no life, it is devoid of all hope. This is religious slavery to fear, judgement and despair.
The end point of this religion drives you towards a suicidal mania. A silent scream of anguish is the inevitable response to living every day with the unbearable burden of trying to please a God who is always angry with you. This painting is so powerful because it resonates in all of us who have looked inside ourselves and found that yet again we have fallen short.
The Scream is the perfect picture to represent the foolishness of dead religion over the wonder and release of grace and acceptance in Christ. The Scream is the face of all those who have wasted themselves, their lives, their money, their best years, chasing after all the wrong ways of getting to God.
From today this priceless picture of a brand of killer religion that eats your soul is now hanging on the wall of some wealthy Saudi, haunting their view, or leading them into truth?